Creating ecosystem lapbooks is a great way to solidify facts that you've studied and create a lasting record of what you've learned.
What Is a Lapbook?
A lapbook is basically a record of what you and your child have studied. It is presented in a specially folded manila folder and is full of smaller books that are created by the student to tell a story or explain the subject matter. These smaller books are often called mini-books, and are basically creatively folded pieces of paper.
Creating Ecosystem Lapbooks
Creating an ecosystem lapbook is much easier than you might think. To begin, decide what information you want your child to know. Allow your child as much creativity as is feasible given the subject and his age. With younger children, you will probably want to just hand your child mini-books and help him narrate information. Older children will likely want to create the books and layout themselves. Don't be afraid to leave out information either. This is not meant to be a comprehensive and definitive guide to ecosystems but rather a book your child can create and use again. So, what information should you include in your ecosystem lapbook?
Ecosystem in a Jar
Create your own ecosystem in a jar. Add plants, water and even an animal or some insects. Documents what you do in a lab book that you glue into the lapbook. Encourage your child to take pictures of the ecosystem and write down observations.
Fact Files on Specific Ecosystems
Choose specific ecosystems and create a fact file. Use a small envelope and index cards. On each index card write specifics of the ecosystem like where it is, how much rain it gets, and what kind of animals live there. Store the cards in the envelop and glue the envelope to the back cover of your lapbook.
Have your child make a circle and divide it into four sections. In each section list and describe a biome and its characteristics.
Back Yard Ecology
Use your own backyard as an ecology study lab. Chart growth of plants, patterns of birds and animals feeding in the area, and anything else you notice. Make a special point to take note of how human interaction helps or harms the local habitat.
Themed Lapbooks on the Ecosystem
Don't shy away from studying one aspect of the ecosystem. Many educators feel that it is better to study a few things in depth and really master them, rather than have a broad surface knowledge of a topic. Pick an ecosystem that is particularly interesting to your child and work an ecosystem around that:
- Biomes (focus on all four)
Any of these would make a fantastic focus for a study on the ecosystem.
Even if you have a focus for your lapbook you may still find yourself hunting down resources to use.
Using the Internet for research purposes can be a real life saver:
- Ecosystems on the Geography for Kids website is a highly informative introduction to the general concept of an ecosystem. This is a great place to start for your research.
- Another great introductory site, also called Geography 4 Kids, offers a simpler explanation of ecosystems.
- The Discovery Channel for Kids website is a great resource, particularly if you are focusing on one ecosystem.
Sometimes you just need a picture for inspiration. Here are some excellent examples of lapbooks on the ecosystem: